30 September 2010

Treacherous Bait

Near the nation’s capitol a sea serpent was spotted, swimming merrily along. Cryptozoologists hope the monster will be captured; normal Americans hope politicians will be lured to the banks of the Potomac, where the serpent can lunge out and devour them.

27 September 2010

Wonderful Indeed Are The Preserves of Time

That mummy is medicinal, the Arabian Doctor Haly delivereth and divers confirm; but of the particular uses thereof, there is much discrepancy of opinion. While Hofmannus prescribes the same to epileptics, Johan de Muralto commends the use thereof to gouty persons; Bacon likewise extols it as a stiptic: and Junkenius considers it of efficacy to resolve coagulated blood. Meanwhile, we hardly applaud Francis the First, of France, who always carried Mummia with him as a panacea against all disorders; and were the efficacy thereof more clearly made out, scarce conceive the use thereof allowable in physic, exceeding the barbarities of Cambyses, and turning old heroes unto unworthy potions. Shall Egypt lend out her ancients unto chirurgeons and apothecaries, and Cheops and Psammiticus be weighed unto us for drugs? Shall we eat of Chamnes and Amosis in electuaries and pills, and be cured by cannibal mixtures? Surely such diet is dismal vampirism; and exceeds in horror the black banquet of Domitian, not to be paralleled except in those Arabian feasts, wherein Ghoules feed horribly.
But the common opinion of the virtues of mummy bred great consumption thereof, and princes and great men contended for this strange panacea, wherein Jews dealt largely, manufacturing mummies from dead carcasses, and giving them the names of kings, while specifics were compounded from crosses and gibbet leavings. There wanted not a set of Artificers who counterfeited mummies so accurately, that it needed great skill to distinguish the false from the true. Queasy stomachs would hardly fancy the doubtful position, wherein one might so easily swallow a cloud for his Juno, and defraud fowls of the air while in conceit enjoying the conserves of Canopus.

Radzivil hath a strange story of some mummies which he had stowed in seven chests, and was carrying on ship board from Egypt, when a priest on the mission, while at his prayers, was tormented by two ethnic spectres or devils, a man and a woman, both black and horrible; and at the same time a great Storm arose at Sea, which threatened shipwreck, till at last they were enforced to pacify the enraged sea, and put those demons to flight by throwing their mummy freight overboard, and so with difficulty escaped. What credit the relation of the worthy person deserves, we leave unto others. Surely if true, these demons were Satan's emissaries, appearing in forms answerable unto Horus and Mompta, the old deities of Egypt, to delude unhappy men. For those dark caves and mummy repositories are Satan's abodes, wherein he speculates and rejoices on human vain-glory, and keeps those kings and conquerors, whom alive he bewitched, whole for that great day, when he will claim his own, and marshall the kings of Nilus and Thebes in sad procession unto the pit.
Death, that fatal necessity which so many would overlook, or blinkingly survey, the old Egyptians held continually before their eyes. Their embalmed ancestors they carried about at their banquets, holding them still a part of their families, and not thrusting them from their places at feasts. They wanted not likewise a sad preacher at their tables to admonish them daily of death, surely an unnecessary discourse while they banqueted in sepulchres. Whether this were not making too much of death, as tending to assuefaction, some reason there were to doubt, but certain it is that such practices would hardly be embraced by our modern gourmands who like not to look on faces of morta, or be elbowed by mummies.
 - from "Fragment on Mummies", a forgery of Sir Thomas Browne written by James Crossley.

22 September 2010

Smoke Break

“Hi, Carter.”

“Hi, Louise.”

“I saw you Saturday afternoon. You and a woman were walking down Third. I saw you from across the street. I waved and waved at you, but you didn’t wave back.”

“Really. Were you, by any chance, wearing a hat? Because I suffer from an unfortunate condition known as ‘hat blindness,’ a quirk of the brain rendering me unable to recognize someone wearing a hat if I‘m used to seeing them without a hat.”

“I was wearing a hat, actually. My sombrero. I wear it sometimes on weekends, because it makes me feel festive.”

“So that was you! You can understand how, because of my condition, I perceived you as a stranger and a madwoman, and therefore sensibly ignored you. ”

“I saw you Saturday, too.”

“You did, Elmer?”

“Saturday night. You and group of people were coming out of a club on First. I said ‘Hello’, you walked right past.”

“Really. I don’t discuss it much, but I also suffer from an unfortunate condition known as ‘bald fag blindness,’ a quirk of the brain rendering me unable to recognize bald fags I’m acquainted with from work when I see them unexpectedly outside of work.”

“That explains it.”

“I also saw you Saturday,” said Edna. “In the morning. You were by yourself, on the shore at the lake. I fell out of my canoe. I frantically waved and yelled at you. But you didn‘t see me.”

“Actually, I distinctly recall waving back. You must not have noticed with all your splashing and screaming.”

21 September 2010

All Over

Interviewed last Sunday, retired General Colin Powell admitted illegal aliens are “all over” at his house, “doing things”. He also claimed “immigration is what's keeping this country's lifeblood moving forward”, but did not explain why the country’s lifeblood needs moving, or how it‘s moved. Does he think immigrants tow the country's lifeblood using taco trucks? He didn’t elaborate.

The establishment considers Powell one of “Washington's venerable ‘wise men,’” which tells you a lot about Washington and the establishment. Harboring illegals isn’t the only criminal activity Powell has been connected to since leaving the military: in 2008 he celebrated Nigerian cyber crime at a festival in London, prior to that he was Secretary of State.

12 September 2010

Hot Snakes

A snake sabotaged electrical transmission lines in the Philippines, blacking out power to the entire province of Bohol. At this time the snake’s motives remain undetermined.

In California, a snake and his teenaged accomplice robbed a Walgreen’s in broad daylight; the pair then escaped on a “baby blue BMX bike”.

Alki Family Fun Day in West Seattle was almost spoiled after an 11-foot albino python attacked a fat woman. At this time who ended up eating whom remains undetermined.

In Melbourne, Australia, a 5-foot long python was spotted lurking outside of a McDonald’s. The python, named Boris, was quickly wrestled into submission by a pair of concerned citizens before he could attack any fat women, rob the McDonald's, or sabotage any power lines.

Whether or not we are on the verge of some sort of snake crisis remains undetermined.

07 September 2010

We’re All Foreigners There

I laughed when Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced his dream of going to the moon (“We must also go there and say: ‘What are you people doing up here?’”). At the time, I had no idea he owned a $48 million private plane, purchased using money given to him by the US and EU. Now he is using $22 million in foreign aid to buy seven supersonic fighter jets Ugandans can’t fly or maintain. Our generosity, then, may have caused Museveni to believe Western nations will someday buy him a rocket ship. I’m starting to believe it myself.

06 September 2010

Of Barnacles, Which Grow from Fir Timber, and Their Nature

There are likewise here many birds called barnacles, which nature produces in a wonderful manner out of her ordinary course. They resemble the marsh geese, but are smaller. Being at first gummy excrescences from pine beams floating on the waters, and then enclosed in shells to secure their free growth, they hang by their beaks like seaweeds attached to the timber. Being in process of time well covered with feathers, they either fall into the water or take their flight in the free air, their nourishment and growth being supplied, while they are bred in this very unaccountable and curious manner, from the juices of the wood in the sea-water. I have often seen with my own eyes more than a thousand minute embryos of birds of this species on the seashore, hanging from one piece of timber, covered with shells, and already formed. No eggs are laid by these birds after copulation, as is the case with birds in general; the hen never sits on eggs in order to hatch them; in no corner of the world are they seen either to pair, or build nests. Hence, in some parts of Ireland, bishops and men of religion make no scruple of eating these birds on fasting days, as not being flesh, because they are not born of flesh. But these men are curiously drawn into error. For, if any one had eaten part of the thigh of our first parent, which was really flesh, although not born of flesh, I should think him not guiltless of having eaten flesh. Repent, O unhappy Jew, recollect, though late, that man was first generated from clay without being procreated by male and female; nor will your veneration for the law allow you to deny that.
 - Giraldus Cambrensis, The Topography of Ireland. 1187.